There is no excuse for animal cruelty. As more and more animals are pushed to the brink of extinction (mostly as a consequence of human actions and activities), it is time humankind realized that upsetting the balance of nature has potentially catastrophic consequences on human ecosystems as well. Time is already running out – fast. Here’s a list of 5 animals most threatened by complete extinction.
1. The Northern Sportive Lemur
These precious animals weigh less than 2 pounds and live on top of a mountain in Madagascar. Their eyes are significantly big – all the better to see at night. Sadly, only around 20 of them are left in the wild.
The lemur was most recently featured in the children’s animated movie, Madagascar. We all loved King Julian’s super catchy I Like to Move It and his funky dance moves. But it’s a shame that future filmmakers may not even have any lemurs left to make funny characters of, thanks to the insensitivity of human beings toward nature. The only lemur left in the world may in fact be King Julian, trapped forever in your DVD player.
In civilized countries, humans are at least provided options or notices when they are evacuated from their homes. No such courtesy is extended to the pandas, whose habitat has been plowed up and destroyed as a consequence of industrialization. Pandas feed on different types of bamboo; as their habitats are destroyed, food sources have dried up, resulting in a large number of deaths by starvation.
To top that, pandas reproduce very infrequently. The panda’s gestation period alone can last up to a year on average. It has, therefore, been very hard to maintain a balanced population of pandas, making their extinction highly probable.
3. Egyptian Tortoises
At birth, an Egyptian tortoise weighs 3.9 grams on average (the same weight as a cherry), and is barely taller than a nickel. The smallest of the tortoise family, these creatures are naturally very vulnerable.
These defenseless creatures are stolen from their habitat with ease, smuggled across borders (often hidden in sacks of potatoes), and traded in illegal markets as exotic pets. A large number die during the transportation process as they are usually not given enough food or water.
4. Amur Leopard
Listed as a critically endangered species by the IUCN, only an estimated 30 Amur leopards are left in the world. The greatest threat to the survival of the Amur Leopard comes from poachers, who kill them for their beautifully spotted fur.
Furthermore, developmental projects near Primorsky Krai, the Japanese Sea, and the borders of Korea and China will inevitably further negatively affect the chances of survival for these graceful beasts.
5. Javan Rhinos
With only 35 Javan rhinos left in the wild, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature has listed the species as critically endangered. The Javan rhino’s iconic horn, which can grow as long as 8 inches, is one of the main reasons it is so heavily poached. The horn is a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicine. The Javan rhino is also seen as a prized possession by trophy hunters.
In the past few years, the breeding of these rhinos has severely declined, possibly because they are too old or because their population is now so small that the male to female ratio has become imbalanced.
The future of all these animals is highly precarious. On television, when people see animals behave ferociously and aggressively toward human beings, they think animals are inherently out of control and dangerous. We need to realize that animals do not react aggressively without a reason.
And while most of these animals are nearing potential extinction, many may already be extinct, as it takes a few years before naturalists begin to notice the disappearance.
However, as awareness increases, and organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, World Society for the Protection of Animals, and The Blue Cross achieve their efforts to rebuild animal habitats, we can continue to hope that these animals will soon be protected from further abuse through legal regulation and control.